Fool’s Paradise 2022 got started on Saturday at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre in St. Augustine, FL with performances by Umphrey’s McGee, Lettuce, and more.
As the late afternoon sun beat down on the beachside town and fans decked out as “Tacky Tourists” filed into the amphitheater grounds, Flamingosis got the day started with a daytime dance party on the Front Porch stage. “You’re hearing that Brooklyn bodega music,” the fast-rising NYC producer told the audience as he experimented with material from his latest LP, 2021’s Daymaker.
Grey clouds briefly rolled in and sprinkled the audience with a refreshing mist as funky sonic explorers Lettuce took the stage for the weekend’s first set on the Amphitheatre Stage. Fresh off the release of their eighth studio album, Unify, Adam Deitch (drums, percussion), Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff (guitar), Erick “Jesus” Coomes (bass), Ryan Zoidis (saxophones), Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet), and Nigel Hall (keyboards, vocals) wove together new material and a satisfying selection of fan-favorites for the St. Augustine crowd.
Beginning with a tour through Unify‘s “RVA Dance” and a “Happy Birthday” sing-along for Bloom, Lettuce took fans on a sonic journey, moving from light, airy textures to thumping hip-hop beats with patented fluidity. From blissful, slow-build tension and release with Shmeeans at the helm to intrepid jazz tangents propelled by Deitch to soul-cleansing, Hall-sung renditions of “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Tears For Fears) and “Don’t Change For Me” (Nigel Hall) to a powerful, set-closing “Phyllis”, the winding performance showcased all the finer points of talent and style that have made Lettuce one of the most exciting live acts on the road.
Lettuce – Fool’s Paradise – St. Augustine, FL – 6/4/22
[Audio: Marc Foster]
As the crew turned over the amphitheater following the Lettuce performance, fans wandered back through the scenic grounds to the Porch Stage for another set by Flamingosis. Following the set break dance party, the Fool’s Paradise audience filed back to the main stage for a two-set show by Umphrey’s McGee.
The prog-jam sextet wasted no time getting down to business, creating some “Room To Breathe” on the St. Augustine stage before welcoming the crowd “In The Kitchen” for an extended improvisational meal. The unfinished jam eventually found its way into a pair of “White Man’s Moccasins” before the band channeled the energy of “Conduit” to add a heavier shade to the proceedings. After a dreamy flight through “The Fussy Dutchman”, Umphrey’s capped set one with a “Mail Package” that swelled and contracted thanks to some rumbling bass work from Ryan Stasik and a heavy-footed backbeat by Kris Myers.
The band returned after the intermission with an expansive “Cut The Cable” that set a heavier, more metal-influenced tone for the final set of the evening. The darkness got deeper as Umphrey’s worked through “Wizard Burial Ground” and “2×2”, each allowing Jake Cinninger to add his razor-sharp edge on guitar. The band dove deeper into the distorted depths from there, rounding out the set with a thrilling, non-stop run segment featuring renditions of “Plunger”, “Andy’s Last Beer”, and a climactic “Ocean Billy”.
As curfew loomed, Brendan Bayliss told an appreciative crowd that the band would skip the encore break and use every second of the remaining seven minutes on the clock to play. With that, the Umphrey’s sprinted into a heavy “Kula” before slipping back into the unfinished “In The Kitchen” from set one to complete the rocking musical meal, the telling lyrics “I wanted to know if you’d still be here tomorrow” garnering a big cheer from the audience of Fools prepared for another day in paradise on Sunday.
Listen to a full recording of Umphrey’s McGee’s performance via nugs.net and scroll down to check out a selection of crowd-shot videos as well as a gallery of photos from Saturday at Fool’s Paradise via Patrick Hughes.
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Setlist: Lettuce | Fool’s Paradise | St. Augustine Amphitheatre | St. Augustine, FL | 6/4/22
Set: RVA Dance, Chief It Up, The New Reel, Don’t Change For Me (Nigel Hall), Squadlive, Resonate > Everybody Wants To Rule The World (Tears For Fears), Gravy Train, Phyllis
Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee | Fool’s Paradise | St. Augustine Amphitheatre | St. Augustine, FL | 6/4/22
Set One: Room To Breathe, In The Kitchen*, White Man’s Moccasins, Conduit, The Fussy Dutchman, Mail Package
Set Two: Cut The Cable, Wizard Burial Ground, 2×2, Plunger > Andy’s Last Beer > Ocean Billy
Encore: Kula > In The Kitchen^
^completed rendition from Set One
Notes: Due to limited time, the band did not leave the stage before the encore